Hluchnik's Knights defeat his former school, West Allis Central
Oak Creek girls improve to 4-1 after overtime win
Oak Creek - Oak Creek girls basketball coach Steve Hluchnik spent much of his early career leading the West Allis Central club.
So it was with no small amount of trepidation that he led his Knights into battle against the Bulldogs in a non-conference game that was part of the NY2LA Classic at Homestead last Saturday.
But then he got caught up in the game and was just pleased that his Knights were able to come out of it with an ugly 38-34 overtime win.
"It wasn't as hard for me as you might think," he said, "but I still knew a lot of these kids from when they were freshmen (he's now in his third season at Oak Creek). I wish them well, but I still want to beat them. This was a tough one for us. As well as we had played the night before (a 67-40 hammering of a decent Racine Park crew), we just didn't play as well today.
"There were moments where it looked like we had never played basketball before. It was clearly more mental than it was physical."
But still, Hluchnik was pleased to drive out of Mequon with a win. The Knights entered this past Tuesday night's showdown with area rival Franklin (3-0) with a 4-1 mark.
Hluchnik said the Knights will have to play much better than it did against his old Bulldog crew if they want to beat the high-flying Sabers. They were outscored in each of the first three quarters and were behind 30-24 going into the fourth period.
But Oak Creek rallied and with less than 30 seconds remaining, Katie Finn hit a 3-pointer, her only points of the game, to eventually send the game into overtime.
The Knights' defense then prevailed in the extra session, holding the Bulldogs to a single free throw, while Morgan Kokta hit two clinching charity tosses.
"It was a 'W,' I'll say that about it," said Hluchnik. "They (Central) were really working to beat us, but good teams, and I like to think that we're one, find a way to win."
Tamya Sims had 11 points, while Kokta had nine and Rebecca Running eight for the Knights.
It was a much easier go of it against Park as Oak Creek took a 17-4 first quarter lead. The gap got closed to 32-22 at the half, but then the Knights stretched it back out to 49-33 at the end of three.
Four players found double figures for the Knights as Sims had 18, Steph Kostowicz and Abby Styczynski contributed 12 apiece and Kokta had 11.
"That was about as good as we could play," Hluchnik said. "We transitioned well, forced a lot of turnovers and our 1-3-1 gave them a lot of problems. We're also getting a lot more comfortable playing 10 kids now.
"We're pretty balanced now. That's what I like to see."
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